Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)
As a result of the PATH Act, last year the deadline for some information returns changed. Employers and small businesses must file certain information returns by January 31:
- Forms W-2 & W-3, both electronic and paper forms, are due to the Social Security Administration by January 31.
- Forms 1099-MISC, box 7 (for non-employee compensation) are due to IRS by January 31.
- Early submission of these forms helps the IRS verify income reported on tax returns.
What is an information return?
An information return is a tax document used to report certain types of payments made by financial institutions and others who make payments as part of their trade or business as required by Internal Revenue Code Regulations. Forms 1042-S, 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8027, 8955-SSA, and W-2G may be filed electronically via the FIRE system. Forms 1094/1095 are filed through the Affordable Care Act Information Return (AIR) system.
Who can participate?
Anyone with a FIRE Transmitter Control Code (TCC) who is required to submit the information returns listed above (except Forms 1094/1095) can file electronically through FIRE. The law requires any corporation, partnership, employer, estate and/or trust, who is required to file 250 or more information returns for any calendar year, must file electronically. IRS encourages filers who have less than 250 information returns to file electronically as well.
What are the benefits of electronic filing?
By transmitting your Information Returns through the FIRE system, your files are processed faster with fewer errors. Listed below are a few benefits of electronic filing:
- FIRE can accept multiple files for the same type of return.
- Combined Federal/State Filing Program (CF/SF) is available for participating states.
- Fill-in Forms are available for Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) and Form 8809, Extension of Time to File Information Returns.
How to transmit through FIRE
In order to file electronically, you must have software or a service provider that will create the file in the proper format. A scanned or PDF copy will not be accepted. Additionally, a TCC is required to transmit information returns through the FIRE system. The most efficient way to submit an application to file information returns electronically is to submit the Fill-in Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE), from the FIRE home page. You may also go to Forms and Pubs and select the paper version of Form 4419. Be sure to submit your application at least 45 days prior to the due date of your information returns.
Your FIRE TCC will be deleted if you don’t file any of the above information returns (except Form 1094/1095) for two consecutive tax years. Once deleted from our database, you will need to submit another Form 4419.
ALERT! The Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) Production and Test System server no longer supports Secure Socket Layer (SSL) 3.0 as one of the FIRE System’s Internet Security Technical Standards. Transmitters using IE 6.0 or lower as their browser may have problems logging in and connecting to the FIRE System. Follow the steps below to connect and upload a file:
- Go to Tools>Internet Options>Advanced
- Scroll down and find Security
- Uncheck both SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0
- Check TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, TLS 1.2 and select “Apply”
FIRE Test System - The IRS encourage filers to submit a test file to ensure their hardware and software are compatible with IRS systems.
- Located at https://fire.test.irs.gov
- The FIRE Test System is available from Nov. 1, 2017 through 6 p.m. Eastern time (ET)
Dec. 8, 2017, and Jan. 2, 2018 through Aug. 31, 2018.
- System may be down every Wednesday from 2 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET for programming updates.
Note: Form 1042-S testing will be delayed and will begin on January 2, 2018 through Feb. 28, 2018.
FIRE Production System - Available for electronic submissions
- Located at https://fire.irs.gov
- Available 24 hours a day
- FIRE Production System will be down from 6 p.m. ET Dec. 8, 2017 through Jan. 7, 2018, for yearly updates. A controlled launch is scheduled for Jan. 8-10, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. FIRE Production System will be available on Jan. 16, 2018. An alert will be posted if the system is available prior to Jan. 16, 2018.
- The system may be down every Wednesday from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. ET for programming updates.
Assistance is available to payers, transmitters, and employers at the telephone numbers listed below for the following issues:
- Questions from the payer and transmitter community relating to the correct preparation and filing (electronic or paper) of business information returns (Forms 1096, 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8027, 8596, and W-2G).
- Questions related to electronic filling of Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding, and Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits.
- General Instructions for Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements.
- Notice CP2100, Please check your Backup Withholding List.
- Notice 972CG, A Penalty is proposed for your Information Returns.
Contact the IRS Monday through Friday
- 1-866-455-7438 Toll Free
- 1-304-263-8700 International
- 1-304-579-4827 Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD).
Assistance with individual taxpayer returns or account related issues cannot be provided on the numbers listed above. Click on the Help & Resources tab on IRS.gov for help with many tax issues.